Instructors

Our teaching staff has been, and continues to be, the highest caliber of professional musicians and composers hailing from a multitude of genres.

 

2019 instructors

We have been privileged to have masters and Grammy winners in Bluegrass, Celtic, Cajun, Texas style, Quebecois, Old Time Music, Gospel, Western, Swing, Classical, and Jazz as our instructors. These most respected teachers eat all their meals with the students, teach in small classes, and take the time to have many one-on-one sessions throughout the week. At the end of the week the instructors and students put on a concert for the community.

 
 

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Laurie Lewis

Grammy Award-winning musician Laurie Lewis is internationally renowned as a singer, songwriter, fiddler, bandleader, producer and educator. She was a founding member of the Good Ol’ Persons and the Grant Street String Band and has performed and recorded since 1986 with her musical partner, mandolinist Tom Rozum. Laurie has twice been voted “Female Vocalist of the Year” by the International Bluegrass Music Association and has won the respect and admiration of her peers. Linda Ronstadt speaks for many when she says of Laurie: “Her voice is a rare combination of grit and grace, strength and delicacy. Her stories are always true.” A pioneering woman in bluegrass, Laurie has paved the way for many young women today, always guided by her own love of traditional music and the styles of her heroes that came before.At the same time, she has steadfastly followed her personal muse and remained open to new influences. Despite “a botched run-in with the piano” at age seven, and several years of classical violin lessons starting at 12, Laurie’s musical passion was aroused not by a printed score, but by an earthier sound she found just down the street from her family’s home in Berkeley, California—at the annual Berkeley Folk Festival.


Kala Rammath

Maestro Kala Ramnath with her ‘Singing Violin’ stands among the world’s finest, most inspirational instrumentalists. Her playing has been featured on the Grammy-nominated Miles from India project, compositions of hers have appeared on the Grammy-winning album In 27 Pieces and the Kronos Quartet’s 50 For The Future. The UK-based Songlines magazine hailed Kala Ramnath as one of the 50 world’s best instrumentalists and selected album Kala as one of its 50 best recordings. She was the first Indian violinist ever to be featured in the violin Bible, The Strad. She was the subject of a solo essay in the third edition to The Encyclopedia- Rough Guide to World Music. Her contributions feature in Hollywood soundtracks like the Oscar-nominated Blood Diamond and many more. And, most significantly in an Indian context, in May 2017 she was awarded the most illustrious Sangeet Natak Academy Puraskar for her contributions to the violin in Hindustani Classical Music. Born into a dynasty of prodigious musical talent, one which has given Indian music such violin legends as her paternal uncle Prof. T.N. Krishnan and paternal aunt Dr. N. Rajam, Kala’s violinistic vision began manifesting early. Recognizing her innate talent, her astute grandfather, Vidwan A. Narayan Iyer took her under his tutelage. Thus began her most auspicious journey on the road to astounding renown and international acclaim. She became a pre-eminent disciple of the legendary vocalist Pandit Jasraj. During this mentorship Kala began revolutionizing approaches to vocalized Hindustani violin technique. During this time she began formulating a voice quite unlike other Indian or non-Indian violinists. Justifiably her voice came to be dubbed ‘Singing Violin’.

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Duncan Wickel

Bowed-String Instrumentalist, World Class Musician, Singer, Writer, and Inventor of The Wickelbuckle Duncan Wickel is - in the words of The Boston Globe: “A considerable talent…as persuasive in a traditional ballad as he is country fiddling or ripping through cascading classical flourishes or atonal double stops”. In 2016, Duncan performed on two consecutive episodes of CBS's The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He has toured and recorded with major Folk Aritists including Rising Appalachia, Molly Tuttle, The Duhks, John Doyle, Karan Casey, Ruth Moody, Rushad Eggleston, and many others. Edge Boston wrote: "[He] proves to be the standout performer, exploring his instrument more in-depth than one might have guessed one could with a fiddle. He is doing exactly what artists do best, stretching the boundaries of his sound through experimentation and play." Duncan's music has echoed off the walls of Carnagie Hall, The Lincoln and Kennedy Center(S), the Grand Ole Opry and the famed Biblioteca Alexandria in Egypt. he has performed and taught in over 22 countries spanning Every Continent on Earth that is normally inhabited by humans (sorry, Antarctica). Duncan is currently recording his Debut solo record, Scheduled for release in Winter 2018-2019. He currentley tours with Rising Appalachia, Molly Tuttle, The Stash! Band, and as himself.


Alex Hargreaves

Newest member of the world renowned, Grammy award-winning, Turtle Island Quartet, Alex Hargreaves is an innovative, cross-genre violinist described as “one of the greatest improvising violinists in America today” by virtuoso mandolinist/composer Mike Marshall, and “the best young jazz violinist in America” by Matt Glaser, artistic director of Berklee College of Music, American Roots Program. Since 2008, Alex has been performing regularly on stages around the world, including Austin City Limits, Panama Jazz Festival, A Prairie Home Companion, Grand Ole Opry, Cambridge (UK) Folk Festival, Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals, Bonnaroo, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, as well as in France, Italy, Spain, and South Korea. He joined the Turtle Island Quartet in January, 2016. At age 17, Alex, along with bassist Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers), teamed with Mike Marshall to form The Big Trio, and performed together extensively following the release of their self-titled album (Adventure Music 2008). From 2007-2014, Alex toured with Grammy-nominated singer/multi-instrumentalist, Sarah Jarosz, appearing on her three critically acclaimed albums, Song Up In Her Head, Follow Me Down and Build Me Up From Bones (Sugar Hill Records), as well as being featured on her Grammy-nominated instrumental, Mansinneedof.  In between, he has also toured with Jerry Douglas, David Grisman, Bela Fleck, Danilo Perez, Darol Anger, Noam Pikelny, Leftover Salmon and has performed with many others including Mark O’Connor, Chris Thile, Brian Blade, Tim O’Brien and Sam Bush. In pursuit of his passion for jazz and improvisational music, Alex completed the prestigious Berklee Global Jazz Institute at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Under the artistic direction of world-renowned pianist Danilo Perez (Wayne Shorter Quartet), the program allowed Alex to work one-on-one with a select group of faculty, including Perez, Joe Lovano, and John Patitucci. While studying at Berklee, Alex toured with Danilo Perez, and recorded on Perez’s album, Panama 500 (Mack Avenue Records, 2014). The all-star lineup on the recording includes jazz icons John Patitucci, Brian Blade, Ben Street, Adam Cruz and others. Recently, Alex recorded and toured with longtime friends and musical collaborators Dominick Leslie, Nathaniel Smith and Samson Grisman. Their EP The Brotet, was released in June 2014.


Dominick Leslie

27 year old mandolinist Dominick Leslie has spent every one of those years immersed in bluegrass and acoustic music, and his innovative style and musical curiosity are clearly informed by these deep roots.  He has studied with mandolin masters David Grisman, Mike Marshall and Chris Thile, won numerous mandolin championships, and performed abroad with several different musical configurations. He has toured with The Deadly Gentlemen, Missy Raines, The Bee Eaters, The Grant Gordy Quartet, Noam Pikelny and Friends, The Infamous Stringdusters, Tony Trischka, The Brotet featuring Sam Grisman, Alex Hargreaves and Nathaniel Smith and can currently be seen performing with Phoebe Hunt and the Gatherers and several other NYC based bands. Dominickleslie.comPhoebehuntmusic.com


Phoebe Hunt

Phoebe Hunt began playing violin at age 6 studying the Suzuki method.  Raised in a family of musicians, she began exploring alternative styles of music in her teen years, studying Jazz improvisation at the University Of Texas at Austin.  Additionally, she began branching out further into the fiddle world studying country, swing, bluegrass and has ventured as far as to study in India with Master Violinist Kala Ramnath.  Phoebe currently is touring with her band, Phoebe Hunt and The Gatherers and has been a touring musician for the past decade.  She brings an amalgamation of influences into her teaching styles.


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Roy Williams

Roy Williams, an American songwriter, guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist, writes music with a curious ear and an open mind. From the classic pop tunes heard on the first cassette Roy owned—The Beatles “Live at the BBC in 1963”—to the incomparable instrumental canon of Django Reinhardt, Roy’s influences eclipse genre categorization, a trait that is reflected in the adventurous spirit of his own original songs. After growing up in Clark’s Green, Pennsylvania, in a musical house where Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield, and especially The Beatles were religion, Roy began playing gigs in nearby Scranton and soon moved to New York City to perform gypsy jazz with renowned guitarist Stephane Wrembel. Roy worked with Wrembel for four years and toured throughout Central America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. He now lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he regularly plays out with his mentors and friends Jim Campilongo, Nick Driscoll, and Alex Hargreaves, and leads his own band. Roy often performs on piano, mandolin, bass, and has known how to play a G chord on guitar since he can remember. He released his debut solo album, Throwing Punches, in February 2015, which features ten original compositions. Roy is currently at work on two upcoming albums: a compilation of instrumental songs by his group Roy Williams and the Human Hands (featuring Alex Hargreaves and Nick Driscoll), and a solo record of rock n roll tunes.


Kristen Andreassen

Kristin combines award-winning songwriting and percussive dance in performances that have been heralded “inventive” by the New Yorker and “haunting” by NPR’s Folk Alley. Since coming of age with two of America’s most beloved traditional music ensembles (Uncle Earl and the clogging company Footworks) as well as the "folk noir" songwriting trio Sometymes Why (with Aoife O'Donovan and Ruth Ungar), Kristin has turned her deep knowledge of timeless roots music into a knack for creating original songs with a similar kind of staying power.  

Following the release of her second solo album Gondolier, Kristin toured solo in support of Black Prairie, Dawn Landes, Aoife O’Donovan, Mipso and Noam Pikelny. This spring, she'll share works-in-progress from new trio recording made with guitarist Chris Eldridge and producer, percussionist and banjo player Shane Leonard. The northeast tour will feature Leonard as well as long-time collaborator and New York-based singer, guitarist and BBC Folk Award winner Jefferson Hamer. 

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eli west

Eli West is a Seattle-based acoustic musician. Known for his solo work and collaborations with Norwegian fiddler Olav Mjelva, Cahalen Morrison, and more, the singer and multi-instrumentalist oozes understated talent. CD’s: elidoes.bandcamp.com; cahalenandeli.bandcamp.com; a video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNH-ZFQaBX4; my website is here.


John Weed

The fiddler for Molly’s Revenge, Story Road, and Little Black Train, is a classically-trained violinist who’s spent the last 20 years immersed in various fiddle styles.  John lived in Ireland in 2000 and taught fiddle workshops at the Flowing Tide International Music School in Doonbeg, County Clare. He has honed his skills since, attending the Frankie Kennedy Winter School in Dunlewey, County Donegal where he studied with Ciaran O’Maonaigh and Dermot Mcloughlin.  With an affinity for American fiddle styles, John explores the connections between Irish, Scottish, and old time fiddle.

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Rick chelew

Rick takes a fresh, original, and very musical approach to his material--whether it’s one of his own compositions, a familiar song from Dylan, The Beatles or Motown , or something more obscure from one of his British guitarist/songwriter mentors such as John Martyn, Richard Thompson, John Renbourn or Bert Jansch—Chelew makes it his own, welcoming the listener to hear it in a brand new way. Rick says, "Music is a conversation between the player and the listener. I like to let the audience, the room, and the tone of the day effect the performance, so we are building something together. That way it's new and different every time."Rick has been a familiar figure on Central Coast stages for twenty years, playing with Andrea's Fault, The Cachagua Playboys, Nico Georis, Heartstrings, Keith Greeninger, The Hayboys, Northstar, and others. He is also a record producer, with credits including Dave Van Ronk (“Live in Monterey”), Pentangle’s "Open the Door" and Bert Jansch's "Heartbreak", which was recently re-released to wide acclaim and was a New York Times Christmas Pick.


Vivian Leva

Though still in college, Leva’s musical roots run deep. She grew up going to fiddle festivals with her parents, both acclaimed roots musicians themselves who perform as the duo Jones and Leva. Her father, James, is a respected multi-instrumentalist who learned knee-to-knee from old-time legends like Tommy Jarrell and Doug Wallin, while her mother, Carol Elizabeth, picked up bygone songs from a now lost generation of singers and recorded with the pioneering bluegrass duo Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard. Leva soaked up this influence at a young age, and, at age 9, began penning songs and performing with her father at venues like the prestigious Carter Family Fold. Vivian Leva's voice is the sound of living tradition. Raised by parents who absorbed ancient tunes and ballads during visits to legendary old-time musicians, Leva grew up steeped in the Appalachian and country music of her Lexington, VA home. On Time Is Everything (released March 2018), her label debut, Leva earns a spot in the lineage of great neo-traditional songwriters like Gillian Welch and Sarah Jarosz. And much like these singers, Leva finds inspiration in the past without being stifled by it.

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Sami Braman

Sami Braman has been playing the fiddle since she was six years old, growing up in the traditional Old-Time music scene around the Pacific Northwest. She began taking lessons from an old-time fiddler in Seattle, and then continued her study with Ruthie Dornfeld. Only a couple years after starting the fiddle, she formed a band with two long-time musical buddies, Leo Shannon and Riley Calcagno, called The Onlies. With the trio, she plays traditional old-time, original, and Irish/Scottish fiddle tunes and songs. While she mostly plays fiddle with the band, she also contributes vocals and guitar. The band has had opportunities to perform with Elvis Costello, Darol Anger, Laurie Lewis, Rushad Eggleston, Kristin Andreassen, the Bee Eaters, and Altan. They have performed up and down the West Coast, at Northwest Folklife Festival, the Berkeley Old-Time Convention, and the Portland Old-Time Gathering, recorded and released two full-length albums: Setting out to Sea in 2013 and Long Before Light in 2015 (produced by Tristan Clarridge). In August of 2017, the group won first place in Clifftop's Traditional Band contest, and returned to perform there in 2018. They recently recorded an album called "The Ruglifters" in Asheville, NC, with old-time music heroes John Herrmann and Meredith McIntosh that was released summer 2018. Now a student at Whitman College, Sami plays and teaches frequently around the small college town of Walla Walla, as well as occasionally touring on school breaks. Sami plays with energy, a driving bow, and a love for the traditional music community she has grown up in. 


Leo Shannon

Garfield High School juniors Riley Calcagno, Sami Braman and Leo Shannon have played music together since they were 2 years old. All versatile musicians, they switch between singing and playing fiddle, guitar, mandolin and banjo. 

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Riley Calcagno

Originally from Seattle, WA, Riley Calcagno has been immersed in old-time music from an early age. He grew up at festivals around the Pacific Northwest learning fiddle directly from older masters of the style. He now feels at home on banjo, guitar, mandolin, and voice as well and is a founding member of The Onlies, a band described as “masterful” and “deliciously well-crafted” (Kithfolk) on the forefront of a new generation of traditional acoustic string music. The Onlies were the 2017 winners of the Appalachian Stringband Festival in Clifftop, WV and recently released a collaborative record with John Herrmann and Meredith McIntosh as the band The Ruglifters.

In addition to The Onlies, Riley performs with Vivian Leva. Together they have toured across Canada, the US, and the UK. Vivian’s record Time Is Everything (feat. Riley Calcagno) has received wide critical praise since its release in early 2018. Rolling Stone Country wrote that it “shines a light on the past without giving up its place in the present” and Wide Open Country called the record “a triumph of lyricism and musicianship.”

Riley has performed with Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens, Darol Anger, Bruce Molsky, the Seattle Symphony, Altan, Tristan and Tashina Clarridge, Dirk Powell, and John Herrmann.                                                        


Elise Leavy

Raised on the central coast of California and currently living in Boston, 20 year-old singer and songwriter Elise Leavy has written more than 60 songs and has recorded two solo records of original material, accompanying herself on accordion, tenor and six-string guitars, and piano. She co-leads Boston-based folk-grass quartet Ruthless Moon, and is a recent graduate of the New England Conservatory's Contemporary Improvisation Program. Elise performs as a solo artist as well as with Ruthless Moon and in various configurations with fellow songwriters and musicians. She is currently in the process of recording her third solo project in Los Angeles, CA, which will be released in 2019, and will be accompanied by release shows throughout the country. Listen to her recent solo album “Home for the Summer” here: https://doodleev.bandcamp.com/album/home-for-the-summer. Watch Elise performing two of her songs here: https://youtu.be/MwdUKuP-BDY and https://youtu.be/k7vyV13Svvg

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Wilhelmina Frankzerda

Wilhelmina Frankzerda is a fiddler and songwriter based in Nashville, TN. Her roots go deep in to traditional American music as well as celtic, classical, and pop music. She is the former Oregon State Fiddle Contest Junior Champion, National Twin Fiddle Champion, and was selected to study and collaborate at the Savannah Acoustic Music Seminar twice. She recently released her debut album, FLIGHT, as well as an album with her folk duo, Paper Wings. My websites are: wilhelminamusic.com and paperwingsmusic.com


Sterling Abernathy

Originally from Broken Arrow, OK, now lives and performs professionally in Nashville, TN. He got an early start in music and by age 13 he was touring full time as part of the young group of players called the Rockin’ Acoustic Circus. Since then he’s gone on to perform with other successful groups, including the Belfry Fellows, Uncle Grier, Molly Tuttle, David Grier, Kenny and Amanda Smith Band and many more. He was selected two years in a row 2013 and ’14 to be one of 16 young participants in The Savannah Acoustic Music Seminar led by mandolin virtuoso, Mike Marshall. Now, most weekends, you can hear Sterling play on the Grand Ole Opry with Clawhammer Banjo player and comedian, Mike Snyder

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EMILY MANN

Emily Mann is a Big Sur, CA native with her heart in the old Appalachian mountains. She grew up immersing herself in a variety of traditional music styles at music camps and is a fluid and well rounded musician as a result. While at home in many genres and traditions, her artistry is strongly influenced by her time spent with oldtime musicians such as Paul Brown, Bruce Molsky, and John Herrmann. She tours with her duo Paper Wings with Wilhelmina Frankzerda. She has also toured with Darol Anger's Furies and she is a current touring member of old-time string-band, The Crooked Jades. Emily stands as a musician of deep intention and curiosity, ably conveying tradition into the future.


Rainy Eyes

Rainy Eyes (Irena Eide) is a Norwegian-born Americana singer-songwriter. For the past decade she has been living in the San Francisco Bay Area; writing music, performing and touring throughout the US. Both solo and with a band, her performances have a spell-binding, inspiring effect and a soulful, heartfelt and timeless sound with tight-knit harmonies, melodious solos and thoughtful songwriting. Rainy Eyes has opened for bands like Willie Watson (Old Crow Medicine Show, Dave Rawlings Machine), Peter Rowan (Bill Monroe, Old and In The Way), Hubby Jenkins (Carolina Chocolate Drops) Jackie Greene (Black Crows), Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Jon Cleary, Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers) and has played prominent stages like UC Berkeley Redwood Concert Series, Sweetwater in the Sun, Sweetwater Music Hall, Henry Miller Library, Napa Opera House, Blue Note Napa, Ashkenaz, Far West Fest, Sonoma Mountain Music Festival and toured throughout the United States for the past decade.

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Teaching Assistants

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Nicholas Leahy

Multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Leahy is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist living in Big Sur. His focus is mainly on the claw-hammer banjo and the square-neck dobro. Nicholas teaches songwriting at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur.

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Gina Leslie

Gina Marie Leslie is a singer, songwriter & multi-instrumentalist with a fear of writing in 3rd person. Playing around New Orleans solo and in a Power Trio "DAMN GINA" and other bands around town, she will simultaneously fill your heart with joy and make it weep and holler.

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Sam Leslie

Sam’s face-melting guitar solos and solid rhythm playing is a unique combination of chemistry and sounds. 


ADVISORS & PAST instructors

Our instructors from previous years often become our advisors and a permanent part of our musical family. Many continue to advise the camp and make surprise visits! Also watch our Concert Calendar for announcements about their performances around the country and the globe.